Look at that sweet, innocent, tiny, squishy face. That is an undated photo of Hunter Brochhausen, who died on March 3, 2018 at a mere four months of age. How, you might ask? Well, if you’re looking to become enraged, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s a hint as to how it happened: Hunter’s parents, 42-year-old William Herring and 22-year-old Brianna Brochhausen, have been charged in his death.
On February 14, 2018, the two charmers pictured above were living at the Hilltop Motel on Route 68 in Springfield Township when, according to the Burlington Country Prosecutor’s Office, they got sick and tired of Hunter crying — you know, that thing babies do? — and decided to put him in “time out” by placing him on his stomach on a bed, covering him with a comforter, and stepping outside for a romantic Valentine’s Day cigarette break.
What, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with a four-month-old who misbehaves? A kid’s gotta be taught a lesson, doesn’t he?!
(Correction: No. No, he doesn’t. Disciplining a four-month-old baby makes about as much sense as punishing a dog for refusing to speak Spanish.)
When they checked on Hunter ten goddamned minutes later, he wasn’t breathing. At least they had the sense to attempt CPR and call for help, spurring an investigation when paramedics and Springfield police officers arrived to find Hunter unresponsive. The poor, sweet boy was taken to Virtua Hospital in Mount Holly before being transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he was placed on a respirator and showed minimal brain activity. On March 3rd, when life support was removed, Hunter succumbed to his injuries.
An autopsy determined Hunter’s manner of death to be homicide and his cause of death to be “complications of suffocation.”
Just last week, a Burlington County grand jury handed up an indictment on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, which is a second-degree offense. William and Brianna will soon face arraignment in Superior Court.
In a news release announcing the indictment of Hunter’s so-called parents, Prosecutor Scott Coffina said, “The responsibilities of becoming a new parent can sometimes be overwhelming. Those who find themselves at a point of crisis when caring for a newborn child should know that help is available, and they must seek that help rather than taking actions that might harm their child.” He went on to mention Parents Anonymous of New Jersey, which offers support groups and a 24-hour Stressline/Family Helpline that can be reached at 800-THE-KIDS. He also made reference to the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, which allows parents to surrender a baby less than 30 days old at any police station, hospital emergency room, fire station, ambulance, first aid, or rescue squad that is staffed 24/7.
Between the time of Hunter’s injury and her arrest for murder, Brianna maintained an active social media presence. On February 19, 2019, she posted a photo of Hunter and William online, accompanied by the caption: “I know it’s late but due to important problems, it’s late. Happy Valentines Day to my future hubby and my baby boy.”
After Hunter’s death, she posted the following: “Fly high my hunky handsome man. I know you left Earth to those big rattles and binkies in the sky.”
(A wordsmith she is not.)
Brianna’s Instagram profile reveals that she and William became engaged on the day Hunter was hospitalized. What the fuck? What better time to celebrate the love of your life than the day you set off a chain of events that will ultimately lead to the death of your infant, amirite?
Oh, hey, how about I make this story so much worse for you? Hunter is survived by his twin sister, Harley.
Rest in peace, Hunter.
Click here for more of my coverage on Hunter’s case.